12-year-old Joel Morley is running 125 miles in 31 days and wants to raise enough money for Derian House to send one of its families on holiday.
Joel, who lives in Skelmersdale with his mum, dad, and three brothers, hit the road on Monday (August 1) and plans to run four or more miles every single day this month, with hopes to raise £1,000 for the Chorley children’s hospice.
The determined youngster, who attends Up Holland High School in Wigan, caught the running bug during the COVID lockdown as it got him out of the house and gave him a focus.
Joel, who is also a budding actor, completed his first fundraiser run of 80 miles for the place that prepared him for his first big panto role earlier this year – his local performing ‘Artz’ Centre in Skelmersdale.
With that under his belt, Joel decided to do something for Derian House, a hospice that provides respite and end-of-life care to more than 450 children and young people across the North West.
With Joel’s fundraising goal of £1,000, Derian House would be able to offer one of their families a week’s stay in their holiday lodges completely free of charge.
This is not the first time Joel has attempted a challenge for Derian House. Last year he planned to run 100 miles in 50 days but completed the challenge with days to spare. Instead of stopping, he carried on running and racked up an extra 20 miles – raising just over £2,000 for the charity.
When asked why he chose to help Derian House, Joel said: “I’m very lucky to be healthy and happy. I realise that other children don’t have the same opportunities that I do.
“I did some research and when I found out about Derian House and all that they do I knew that was the charity I wanted to help. You can see that Derian House is a really nice place where children can go to make the most of it. I want to raise as much as I can for them.
“If we want things to change for the better we have to work together. This is a team effort – I might be running every day but I need kind people around me who want to help and to donate to make it all worthwhile.
“I want to raise even more than I did last year for the children at Derian House to live a better life, to enjoy themselves, and to make the most of their time with their families.”
Joel’s mum Katie Morley, 40, said: “Joel is amazing. He is so determined. He’ll decide to do something and will just run with it – literally! I know that when he says he will run 125 miles in 31 days, he absolutely will.
“Friends and local people have been running alongside Joel and supporting him which is incredible to see. He’s got so much energy. You can be running up a hill with him and he’ll be chatting away to you while you’re struggling for breath!
“We’ve also had a lot of prize donations from local business in support of Joel, so once he has completed his 125 miles we’re going to hold a small party to raffle them off and raise even more for Derian House.”
Derian House is able to offer 400 families a free week’s stay in their holiday lodges every year.
Mum Kerry Turner, whose son, Isaac, uses Derian House services and whose family recently holidayed in one of Derian’s lodges, said: “The Derian on Holiday lodge we stayed at was amazing. There is so much fun for the whole family. It was so nice to stay somewhere that is accessible with a ramp leading on to a wide outdoor decking area – which Isaac enjoyed zooming around in his wheelchair. Inside the lodge was all open plan to allow space for Isaac’s wheelchair too. It was so nice to get away – we were none stop swimming and enjoying the entertainment!”
Ann-Marie Fishwick, Community Fundraiser at Derian House, said: “We are so grateful to Joel for choosing to raise money for our children and young people here at Derian.
“Just 17% of our funding comes from the government so we rely on the kindness of people like Joel who go the extra mile to help us to raise the vital funds we need. We think he is an incredibly brave and determined young man and wish him luck!”